Light 2

"The Mysteries of the Light Verse (Q. 24:35) in Islamic and Bābī-Bahā'ī literatures.

Part II.

Stephen Lambden 1998.

BEING CORRECTED AND SUPPLEMENTED 2015-6.

Early Shaykhī Exegesis, Shaykh Aḥmad al-Aḥsā'ī (d. 1241/1826).

The architect of the Shi`i school known as Shaykhism, al-Aḥsa'i wrote a number of commentaries on the "Light Verse":

  • 1) Tafsīr ayat al-nūr... in Risāla fī jawāb masā'il Sayyid Muhammad al-Bakkā' (in Jawāmi` al-kalim, 1/1:111-120. Also printed in Majmu`at al-rasā'il vol. 30:158-185 [171-180 = Q. Light Verse]. Q. What is the signficance of] the Light Verse from its beginning unto its end?

In his  dense and detailed ten page reply al-Ahsa'i begins by stating that its significance is other that what the (Qur'ān) commentators (al-mufassirūn) have stated. He prefaces his detailed reply by stating that from time to time, he had been been in receipt of oral communication [from the occulated Imāns] that this is among the most complex of matters for the rational soul [to comprehend]. The hadīth of Imam Ja`far al-Sādiq is cited: "Not everything that a person knoweth should be divulged...

He continues:

"God is the light [al-nūr] of the heavens and earth" [Q. 24:35a] that is to say, "The Directing Guide (al-hādī) for whomsoever is in the heavens and on the earth (cf. Imam al-Bāqir above); their Illuminator (munawwiruhum), in other words, their Originator (mūjid) through and from the [divine] Light (bi'l-nūr min al-nūr) and their Ornamentor [Embellishor...] (muzayyinuhum) by virtue of the Guides among the prophets and the saints (bi'l-hādiyīn min al-anbiyā wa'l-awiyā'), the divines (`ulamā') and the [true] believers (al-muminīn) ...

"And the significance of He, glorified be He, is "the light [al-nūr] of the heavens and earth" [Q. 24:35a] is as hath been mentioned and we confirm it for He, verily, is the cause of their existence through His Divine Will (bi-mashiyya), their sustainer through His command, their instructor respecting His Logos-Self by means of His Logos-Self as well as their selves through their [own] selves. He openeth for them gates of His Bounty through obedience to Him [lit. in His obedience]. He distinguisheth "the heavens and the earth" through recollection of the desire to enter the sphere of Determination and the [Mercy] Seat (fulk al-muaddad wa'l-kursī) and other specified, universal Spheres (aflak) for these twain are the two known domains (al-ma`rūfān) for the generality of humankind. And He hath singled out the aforementioned realms (al-madhkūrāt) through recollection apart from that of the angels, humans, jinn and satans and other living orders to the end that they be the emission of the Lights (?), ...

" The intention of "the heavens" (samawāt) is the intellect (al-`aql) for therein is something of the lights of His gnosis (anwār ma`rifatihi) and "the earth" is the "souls" (anfus) for within their own selves are the lights of obedience unto Him; the affirmative reality of the lights of that is through this....

"The likeness of His Light (mathal nūrihi)" indicates the likeness of His Guidance relative to what is other than Him "...is of a lamp in a niche [ka-mishkat].."

  • 2) Tafsīr ayat al-nūr. At the request of Sayyid Mal-Allāh ibn Muhammad al-Khaī al-Qatifī (BSBM 1:162)
  •  

Sayyid Kāzim Rashtī  (d.1260/1844).

        Sayyid Kāẓim Rashtī (d. 1260/ 1843/4) likewise utilized the rich imagery of the "Light verse" and commented thereon. In his 1258/1842 Qaṣīda al-lāmiyya  ("Ode rhyming in the letter "L") -- original ode by `Abd al-Baqī Afandī al-Mūṣilī, d.1204/1789), for example, in the course of commenting upon the exalted status of the seventh Imam, Musā al-Kāẓim (d. 799 CE) the Sayyid several times quotes and comments upon Q. 24:35a.

        Imam Mūsā is referred to as a "Dawning-Point for the Light of wilāya ("Trusteeship") (nūr walāya), one stationed  before or representative of the theophany of the Sun of Prophethood [=Muhammad] (wāqif li-ẓuhūr shams al-nubuwwa). A quotation [from al-Kāẓim] is then cited to the effect that the Light (al-nūr) is both the Radiance (al-ḍiyā') and the Splendor or Beauty (al-bahā'). Sayyid Kāẓim then cites the first clause of the "Light verse" -- "God is the Light of the heavens and of the earth" (Q. 24:35a) -- and comments that the "Light" (al-nūr) which is associated with "the Name" (al-ism) which is, in fact, the Causative Reality (al-`ilyā [`ulliya]) for

"outwardly it is the Cause which is effective through the Divinity (bi'l-uluhiyya) It is the Greatest, Greatest Name" (al-ism al-a`ẓam al-a`ẓam). He saith -- glorified be He -- "God is the Light of the heavens and of the earth" (Q. 24:35a) and the Light relateth to the Name which is the Cause [Causitive Reality]; outwardly it is the Cause through the wilāya ("Custodianship"). It is the Greatest, Greatest Name. It is the Namew through which God created the heavens and the earth. By means of it He created the originated mountains (jabalāt al-khalā'iq) [within creation] and through it He created the jinn, and human beings.. [cf. Shaykh Ahmad] ...

And it is the First Light (al-nūr al-awwal) which hath the First Name and the Elevated [Primordial] Reality (al-ism al-awwal wa'l-aqīqah al-`aliyā). And He said, glorified be He, "Praise be unto God Who created the heavens and appointed the darknesses [shadows] and the light" (Q. 6:1a). And this "Light" (al -nūr) is constitutive of (ma`jūl) of that "Light" (al-nūr) and its effect [trace] (ātharihi) and its created expression (makhlūq). It [Q,6:1a] hath the Name of "the Light (al-nūr) [being the] and the Secondary Reality (al-ḥaqīqa al-thāniyya) on the level of all enduringness (fī al-rutba[t] al-baqīyya); the Radiant Splendour in terms of Luminosity (al-iyā'`alā al-munīr) and the Foundation and Cause (al-al wa'l-`illah). Such is expressed in His saying, --exalted be He -- "He made the Sun [to be] al-diyā' ("a Radiance") and the moon a light (nūr).." (= Q.10:5a). So the Radiance (al-ḍiyā') is the luminosity (al-munīr) for this is an attribute of the luminous Sun (al-shams al-munīr). The "Light" (al-nūr) is a derivitive aspect (?) just as is the state of the [radiance of the] Moon [?check].

        Now as for the Splendour (al-sanā') it is synonymous with [named] the Radiance (al-diyā') and the Beauteous-Glory (al-bahā') and the Light (al-nūr)... Our Lord and Master Abī `Abd Allāh, Ja`far ibn Muhammad al-Sādiq said... in the Tafsīr on the basmalah the "B" (al-bā') is Bahā'-Allāh and the "S" (al-sīn) is Sanā'-Allāh ("The Splendour of God"). Thus doth the bahā' have precedence [precede] the sanā' ("The Splendour") we are taught that the sanā' ("The Splendour") is an [subsiduary] aspect (al-sanā' furu`) the bahā' is foundational (al-bahā' aṣl). It is thus the case that the al-bahā' has the sense of the al-ḍiyā' (" the Radiance") and the sanā' ("The Splendour") has the sense of the Light (al-nūr)... and it [bahā'!] is His Messenger (rasūl) and Musā son of Ja`far, Mighty Trees (dawat) of the divine, primordial Olive Tree (al-shajarat al-awwaliyya al-ilāhhiyya al-zaytūniyya) which is neither of the East nor Western (laysat l-sharq an? wa lā gharbiyya)... and that Tree (al-sharajah) is the Tree of Exterior Prophethood (sharajah al-nubuwwah al-āhira) expressive of wilāya ("Providential Guidance") (fi'l-wilāya) and it is the Muhammadan Reality (al-aqīqat al-Muhammadiyya)... He the Great Shaykh [= Shaykh Muyī al-Dīn ibn al-`Arabī] in the Futūāt [al-Makkiyya] said, that the Muhammedan Presence (al-sirat al-Muhammadaniyya) is the most proximate [to God] of the Presences approaching God (aqrab al-ḥadrāt ilā Allāh)" (Sayyid Kāim, al-Qaida, 000 [unpaginated])

Bābī-Bahā'ī interpretations of the Light Verse.

The Bābī-Bahā'ī interpretation of the "Light Verse" is partly rooted in the Shī`ī-Sufī and Shaykhī understanding of the "Light Verse". On one level it is closely related to the luminiscent Reality of Muhammad as a Manifestation of God, though also the same transcendent "Reality" of the Bāb and Bahā'-Allāh as his "return".

The Bāb on the "Light Verse".

        There exist at least seven writings of the Bāb that are, in one way or another, associated with various verses within the Sūrat al-nūr ("The Sūra of Light" Q. 24 ) or with the "Light Verse" (24:35) itself. Of them item 21 in the mss F.21 (pp.155-171) which is part the Cambridge E.G. Browne collection has the heading Tafsīr āyāt al-nūr and it is definitely expository of the qur'ānic "Light Verse" -- unlike the others listed by MacEoin (199X:198).5 In this work the Bāb refers to "one of the servants who desired to extract a wondrous fruit [Light verse] from Paradise (min al-jannat thamara badī`a?) [the Q.] to the end that We [he = the Bāb] might make it a thing worthy [meritorious] (mustahaqqa?; Proof (?ḥaqqa) of the denizens of the XXXX Paradise" (li-ahl al-janna al-???) (unto thee?)." He continues,

"Aforetime hath it been asked about the āyāt al-nūr [Q. 24:35] and the Sūrat al-qadr ("Sūra of Destiny [the Power, Decree]" Q. 97). As for the second, We have already expounded it [as thou art aware?] though We shall again return unto it [?].

 As for the first [= Q. 24:35], know thou that the difference between "Light" (al-nūr = abjad 256 [287) and "Fire" (al-nār = abjad = 251 [282]) is five which is [the abjad value of] the Bāb (2=B+1=A +2=B= 5) [the "Gate"]. Whoso entereth therein God shall assuredly decreed for him what is meritorious (mustaaqqa). Know furthermore that from the beginning of that Decree [Command] (al-amr) the "Fire of God" (nār Allāh) hath overtaken the inmost hearts of all existing things (af'ida al-mawjūdāt). His Prophet Muhammad was made manifest, the Beginning [First in] of the creation of God in the kingdom of earth and heaven. As this he is assuredly the fivefold form (shakl al-khamsa) which, when the lines [template] of the five (khaū al-khams) was completed, there was manifested the six (al-sitta). He is the One Who is mentioned at the beginning of the Commentary on the Sūrat al-baqara ([Tafsīr] Sūra of the Cow Q. 2) in clarifictaion-explanation of the Greatest Name (al-ism al-a`ẓam) relative to the commentary on the qur'anic disconnected letters (tafsīr ḥurūf muqatta`āt al-qur'āniyya). Wherefore dost thou [I] say ??? Prior to [its being] that five (al-khamsa) [= "H" = Bāb] it was [nothing less than] the semblance of the fullness of the [letter] "W" [= abjad 6] (mithl ishbā` wāw) for it is the pure essence of the theophany (ṣirf al-ẓuhūr) and the Fire of the Hidden Depths (nār al-ghuyūb); relative to the people (`ind al-nās) speech cannot encompass its form (haykal). But thou....

"He, verily, is the One Who sent down aforetime in the Qur'ān "Alif-Lām-Mīm." A covenant (`ahd) unto ye O sons of Adam that ye serve not Satan for he is for thee a manifest enemy.." .. When the Earth of My Self was manifested I did not love that I should mention other than the Exalted Letters [expressions] (ḥurūf al-`aliyyīn) but [mere] allusion must suffice for the people of knowledge [science] and testimony. Wherefore do I so testify! Say: After [as a result of] the Five [=Bāb] was the Fire (al-nār) realized. And Say: "God is the Light of the heavens and of the earth" [Q. 24:35a). And know that the completion of "Be! and it is" [=Q. ] (kun fa-yakūn) then there was realized through it (?) the number of the Four Gates (abwāb al-arba`a) every one of whom was five which is the number of the gate (al-bāb) [wherein] naught is seen except the number of the Fire (al-nār). So experience within thyself what We have instructed thee and render thanks ... for what We have inspired thee regarding the mysteries of God, may He be exalted and glorified. Thus do I instruct thee therein!

So know thou that every single letter of this sanctified verse (al-āyāh al-muqaddasah) is replete with oceans of generative reality [creativity] (abhur al-ibdā`) which floweth therein. But the allusion which its exegetes [people] have attained which operate on the exterior level are on four levels.

The first level is that of the Pillar of Fire (al-rukn al-nār), that is to say, the word [of Glorification] Subḥān Allāh (= "Glory [Praise] be to God"= the tasbīḥ). Its bearer is denomination [alottment of Names] (al-musammā) relative to the Name Lordship on its exterior level (bi-ism al-rubūbiyya al-ẓahirihi). This is the mode of the origination (maqām ījād) on the part of God of Muḥammad and `Alī as a single Light (nūr an wāḥid)..."

Note that the Bāb, in the course of commenting on the "Light Verse" has occasion to mention the qur'ānic disconnected letters. There is a close relationship between the mystical senses of "Light" and "Fire" in both the Bāb and Bahā'u'llāh's commentaries on the "Light Verse".

An Untitled work of the Bāb,  possibly a comforting Tablet to a Bābī who had lost his son Assad-Allāh.

A "Light" (nūr an) was necessary for a new mode of creation and eventually a letter "A" was manifest between two letter "B"s (= the Bāb) "through which all the [other] letters (kull al-ḥurūf) were moved to speak; the denizens of the heavens and the earth [were moved] through his [the Bāb's] "Light" (nūr)...  Promise him with that [Light] verse (Q. 24:35) of the Qur'ān when all that breathes in the night then and at day when it patrols-declines (?). The Bāb then states that God quotes the whole of the Light verse... (INBMC 98:32-2).

Bahā'-Allāh on the mysteries of the "Light Verse"

        After the qabbalistic-cosmological prolegomenon reference is made in the Tafsīr Ḥurūfāt al-Muqaṭṭa`āt to Bahā'-Allāh's recept of Rikāb Sāz's communication:

"[4] In his [RikābSāz's] letter there was enquiry about mysteries (asrār) which none among the creatures hath anticipated; the veil on the face of which none among humankind hath drawn aside and which hath not been comprehended by the mystic knowers. [5] Then know thou that that which thou hast asked concerning the "Light Verse" [Qur'ān 24:35] which was sent down upon Muhammad, the Messenger of God aforetime, concerns a verse the comprehension of which the worlds cannot sustain. [6] Even if whatever lieth within God's knowledge became pens and all that has been decreed became oceans of ink and the Fingers of Might wrote [its mysteries] for all time, this would not suffice to exhaust even a single letter of the meaning of this honourable and blessed verse which hath been revealed by the Tongue of Grandeur. [6] Nevertheless, I shall cause to be sprinkled down upon thee a dewdrop from the fathomless ocean of the sea of knowledge and wisdom in order that thou might be amongst those who have hastened to the plains of knowledge and who have drunk deep of the goblet of Divine Favor from the hand of the Youth [seated] upon the Throne of Paradise."

        In explaining this "honourable and blessed verse" (Q.24:35) Bahā'-Allāh first states that it has innumerable levels of meaning, only a few of which he will set forth. What he does say is partly related to the Shī`ī imamologically oriented interpretations centered on the "Light of Muhammad" (Per, nūr-i Muhammadiyya) which concept lies at at heart of Islamic light mysticism. He then immediately proceeds to give a mystically oriented account of the pre-eternal Sinaitic call of Moses -- which is of central importance in both Jewish and Islamic mysticism:

"[1] When for Moses, the appointed term [in] the Midian of the Divine Will (madyan al-inshā') was completed he returned to his people and entered the environs of Sinai in the Holy Vale at the right-hand side of the region of Paradise by the precincts of the Eternal Realm. [2] He heard the Call from the Most-Exalted Realm, from the retreat of Divine Ipseity (shaṭr al-huwiyya ), `O Moses! Behold! What do You see? I verily, I am God! your Lord and the Lord of your fathers, Ishmael, Isaac and Jacob.' [see Q. 7:143; 2:133] [3] Then Moses veiled his face out of the fear of God, the Mighty, the Powerful, the Self-Subsisting." (MA 4:53-4)

"[1] He [Moses] was summoned again before the shores of the Ocean of Grandeur in the Crimson Dome (qubbat al-amrā'): "Lift up. O Moses, Your head!". [2] When he lifted it up he saw a Fire (nār), blazing and luminous from the Furthermost Tree in the Verdant [Green] Vale. [3] Wherefore was he guided by the Most-Great Guidance from the Fire kindled from the Eternal Lote-Tree. [4] Then did he doff the sandals of desire and detached himself from the dominion of the hereafter and the primary [first; this world]. [5] All this was what God hath decreed for him even as thou art informed in the Tablets. [6] Wherefore was his Cause raised up and his remembrance exalted. [7] He was among those who turned their faces by the lights of the Fire towards the paths of justice. [8] And this is what was ordained for Moses son of `Imran in the Dome of Time [or `Dome of Rummān'= Pommegranite?] (qubbat al-zamān [al-rammān) if thou art of those who are informed. [9] Thus hath borne witness of Paran of Love with the Paran of Fire in the Horeb of Holiness and the Sinai of Nearness if you scan the pages of justice with the eye of God." (MA 4:53-4)

 Set in pre-eternity and based on Qur'ānic texts mystically interpreted, this spiritual midrash indicates that Moses' encounter with the Divine led him to veil his face out of the fear of God. When commanded to lift it up he saw a Light (nūr) emanating from the Furthermost Tree (cf. Qur'ān) which led to his being rightly guided and becoming detached from all things. Moses' experience of God was an exrerience of the Divine Light for "God is the Light (nūr) of the heavens and of the earth" (Q. 24:35a).

            Having related the Call of Moses and the Divine Light, Bahā'-Allāh associates the "]ights of the Divine Unicity" (anwār al-aḥadiyya), the [Sinaitic] "fire of the Divine Ipseity" (nār al-huwīya) and the paradisical Lote-Tree with the Call of the Prophet Muhammad: Seized with spiritual rapture he heard the Call of God "from the Tree of [His] Humanity in his imnost being", saying, "Verily He is Thou who art God, the king, the Protector, the Mighty, the Holy." The Arabian Prophet had an experience of his Divinity. This he wanted to communicate to his contemporaries the Jews. He wanted them to acknowledge that his station was such that the Sinaitic Mysteries were being reenacted in his own interior being which is the locus of the Divine Light. If the Jews could realise that the "mysteries of the Divine Unicity" (asrār al-aadīya) shone forth in the "Tree of his Self" .. (shajarat nafsihi) they would detach themselves from "the fire which shone forth in the Sinai of the Decree upon the Moses of the Command" and become his followers (Muslims). God's inspiring Muhammad with the Light Verse (Q. 24:35), Bahā'-Allāh states, 6 was such that it might be a proof unto those who were given the Torah and a guidance unto those who were guided by the lights of guidance (anwār al-hidāyat) in the Muhammadan Lote-Tree (sidrat al-Muhammadīya = the prophet Muhammad)" (MA 4:54-55).

        Having thus explained, Bahā'-Allāh adds, that God commanded Moses to tell his followers about the advent of the Prophet Muhammad; to "announce unto the people (Jews) this (Muhammadan) Sinai in this Aḥmadian [Sinaitic] Spot (al-buq`at al-Aḥmadīya). This is indicated in the fo]lowing Qur'ānic verse,

"We verily sent Moses with our signs [and the command to] `Bring the people [Jews] from the darkness into the light (al-nūr) and announce unto them the days of God.'" 7

        While Moses was guided by the "Fire of the Tree in the region of the right-hand side of the Vale [of Sinai]" and was among those who entered the "Blessed Spot" (buq`at al-mubārakat) the Prophet Muhammad was capable of transforming "Fire" (nār) into "Light" (nūr) and guiding whomsoever he desired unto it.

[XII]

[1] Know thou that when Moses became aware of the Fire of the Tree (nār al-shajarat) about the shore of the right-hand side of the [sacred] Vale (fī shāī wād al-aymān) he was guided by it and was among those who, with the permission of God, have entered the Blessed Spot (buq`at al-mubāraka). [2] Aforetime it was the case that if Muhammad became familiar with some reality or something interacted [all but touched] (yamsashu) with him as Fire (min nār) he made it Light (nūr an) unto whomsoever are in the heavens and on the earth. [3] And he guideth unto this Light (al-nūr) whomsoever he willeth among His creatures. [4] Such is what was inscribed in the [Archetypal] Book (al-kitāb) and which thou recite through the Criterion (al-furqān = the Qur'ān).

Key terms contained in the "Light Verse" then are Symbolic of the being of the Arabian Prophet:

[4] Then know thou that the locus (maqām) of the "Niche" (mishkat) in this [Light] verse is His Self [Logos] (nafs; = Muhammad) and that the "Lamp" (mibā) is his resplendent heart (qalbihi al-munīr). [5] The "Glass" (zujāj) is his sanctified Temple [Body, Person] (haykalihi al-qudsiyya) in which the Lamp of the Divine Unity (sirāj al-aḥadiyya) shines forth. [6] The "Light" (al-nūr) is ignited and radiates splendour from Muhammad for from him derives the splendour of all who are in the heavens and on the earth. [5] Wherefore do We mention this unto thee that thou might be illuminated by means of this "Light" (al-nūr) in the Days of the Spirit (ayyām al-rū)." (MA:55).

Bahā'-Allāh's mystical interpretation of the Light Verse is thus intimately linked with the qur'ānic accounts of Moses' Sinaitic encounter with the Divine. 8 It was, it is alleged, originally revealed in order to induce Jews to become Muslims for it is allegorically indicative of the exalted status of the Arabian Prophet.

Bahā'-Allāh continues to further relate the embodiment of the divine "Light" reltive to the eschatological purpose of Muhammad's mission which was the advent of the Bāb representative of the liqā-Allāh or "Encopunter with God":

"[1] After this "Light" (al-nūr) had shone forth in the Muhammedan "Lamp" (misbah al-Muhammadiyya), was ignited in the Aḥmadian "Niche" (mishkat al-amadiyya) and the creation of the Unique One (al-aḥadiyya: the Bāb) was completed through the creation of the pre-existent Temple (haykal al-qadīmiyya) God hath decreed that he might remind the people about the Meeting [Encounter] with Him [God] at the time of the latter resurrection (qiyāmat al-ukhrā) and give them tidings of a Holy, Laudable Reality (maqam quds mamūd) in a locale in which the concourse of the Elevated Ones (malā' al-`āliyyīn) and the Spirits of the cherubic Beings (`those who are nigh unto God'; arwā al-muqarribīn) shall be gathered together. [2] Therein shall be uplifted the clouds of Divine Bounty (ghumām al-fal) and through the rejoicing of God the believers shall be made to greatly rejoice. [3] This is what was promised in mighty, preserved Tablets (alwāh `izz mafūz) in which He says, exalted be His sovereignty, "The Day when your Lord shall come or certain of the signs of your Lord" (cf. Qur'ān 6:156]. [4] And this is what all who are in the heavens and on the earth were promised about him [= the Bāb] to the end that all might bear witness within themselves that this One is certainly the True One (al-aqq); no God is there except Him. [5] He undoubtedly is the True One (al-haqq), the XXX al-ghuyūb).

 [XIV]

[1] Then know [thou of] the station (maqām) of he who came in the garment of `Alī (= the Bāb or `a sublime robe'; bi-qami `aliyy) upon clouds of Light (ghamām min al-nūr) and that Muhammad, the Messenger of God was an announcer of the glad-tidings of the Encounter [Meeting] with Him on a Day in which the righteous shall rejoice on his account. [2] Know also that after he came unto them with manifest signs the slanderers spoke against him and treated him in such wise that the Pen is loathe to dwell upon it. [3] And God beareth witness unto this even if thou do not so testify. [4] They disbelieved in him and denied him and among them was one who slandered God accusing him of enchanting the people. [5] Thus were they veiled from the Encounter [Meeting] with God; did not assist him in his Cause and failed to turn in the direction of the Countenance [Yayā?] unto which those who are nigh unto God have turned.

[XV]

1] And thou, O Concourse of the Bayan! Render thanks unto God in that he hath bestowed his bounty upon thee in such wise that thou hast been ennabled to known His Self (nafs = the Bāb) and were ennobled through the attaining of the Encounter [Meeting] with God (liqā'-Allāh). [2] He, in very truth, raised thee up and sent down unto thee that which enabled thee to be free of those who disbelieved and inclined to associationism even though all expected the advent of His Days and all were heirs to the promise of His coming. [3] Wherefore know that We have, in very truth, awakened thee, raised thee up and ennobled thee through the divine Grace (al-fal) inasmuch as We gave thee a refuge in the precincts of knowledge (shāī al-`ilm), instructed thee in the paths of gnosis (subul al-`irfān) and drew thee nigh unto a Fire (nār) through which the hearts of those who have believed in God their Lord and trusted in Him were at every moment been made to blaze.

[XVI]

[1] Then know that the significance of the [Light] verse [Q. 24:35] cannot be [understood] except that We should instruct thee through the Truth [through the True One?] since none shall comprehend it save those who were patient in God and inasmuch as none shall understand it except those who were sincere. [2] This is from the [divine] Bounty which was hath neither beginning nor end. [3] Yet thou, O thou hopeful petitioner, during these days in which the Sun of Bounty (shams al-`inayat) hath shone forth from the Dawning-Place of Singleness (mashriq al-aḥadiyya) and the Lamp of the Divine Ipseity (sirāj al-huwiyya) hath shed splendour in the Niche of Holiness (mishkat al-qudsiyya), shall not witness [the significance of] this [Light] verse save in a Temple [Person] (haykal) which God has secreted beyond the Pavilion of Might (surādiq al-`izzat) in the beloved heights of divine nearness (rafraf qurb mabūb?). [4] Dost thou not witness how God hath caused His Self (nafs) to radiate through the Fire of His Self (nafs), in the Eternal "Niche" (mishkat al-baqā') and preserved it in the "Lamp" of Power (misbā al-qudrat) between the earth and the heavens; lest the breezes of ungodliness should blow upon it and there be manifest therefrom the Light (al-nūr) from behind the 70, 000 veils [of light] according to a prescribed measure [to the extent of the eye of-the needle] and [how] He caused to radiate from the Glasses the possibilities of existence (zijājāt wujūd al-mumkināt). [5] This in such wise that they may all give account about God, their Creator in view of the theophany (tajallī) upon them of this Divine Light (al-nūr al-ilāhiyya).

[XVII]

[1] This is what We bring to thine attention of the wonders of hidden knowledge in order that at every moment thou might render thanks unto God your Lord as also all the believers. [2] This to the end that thou might be contented within thyself in that thou be oriented towards a region [shore] which not a single footstep of the creatures hath attained; save those who are at every moment consumed by the fire of love and unto which none have drawn night except such as are detached from all that is in the mighty sphere of the Divine command (jabarūt al-amr) and in the world of creation and who, with the permission of God, tread the paths of submission. [2] Thus have We given thee sufficient through that which We have expounded for thee relative to this sanctified verse. [3] We have abridged the elucidation of its significances in that We have previously commented upon it in diverse ways and modes which have astonished the intellects of mystic knowers. [4] Be satisfied with what hath been sent down for thee in this blessed Night (cf. laylat al-qadr) which God hath set aside among nights as one in which He hath decreed every affair as something ordained [sealed] before One Mighty, Self-Subsisting. [5] If this is deemed that which the Pen of Might hath written down upon these Perspicuous Tablets then return unto what was previously inscribed by a mighty, manifest Finger since in the Lote-Tree of Words (sidrat al-kalimāt) the Fire of Singleness (nār al-aḥadiyya) hath blazed forth and none shall grasp it save such as profess the unity of God (al-mawidūn). [6] On its branches are Doves all of which were created from the Fire of the Divine Ipseity (nār al-huwiyya); and none heareth their cooing save those who are detached. [8] By God! If thou should make careful observation thou would assuredly become informed of all branches of knowledge according to what hath been inscribed in these Tablets and be free from all except Him. This, verily, is the certain truth."